OpenBridge Tip: OpenBridge Designer or OpenBridge Modeler?

When organizations are investigating the use of an OpenBridge program, inevitably the question arises: “Should we use OpenBridge Designer or OpenBridge Modeler?”

To complicate the issue, associated programs like ProStructures, RM Bridge, and the LEAP products work with either program. The choice is fairly straightforward if the organization knows how, or at what level, they will be designing bridges.

First, we will look at OpenBridge Designer (OBD). This program, in its simplest form, is a program manager that allows interoperability between the physical (3D Model) and the analytical (design) programs utilizing the BIM workflow. It does this by consolidating OpenBridge Modeler (OBM) with LEAP Bridge Concrete, LEAP Bridge Steel, RM Bridge, RM Bridge Advanced, and RM Bridge Enterprise into a single comprehensive bridge modeling, design, and analysis application.

There are two workflows with OpenBridge Designer. The BIM workflow allows bridge model information created in OpenBridge Modeler to be sent to one of the analytical design programs, and then when design changes are made the OBM bridge model can be updated from those changes. The power of this interoperability allows for easy use of the Geotechnical, structural, and visualization capabilities of gINT, ProStructures, and LumenRT. The other workflow is the Standalone workflow. With this workflow, work can be done in the different programs independently. Selecting Standalone allows for the independent use of one of the available software programs. For example, one can open LEAP Bridge Concrete without having a 3D bridge model already created.

Next, we will look at OpenBridge Modeler (OBM). OBM is a complete, intelligent, 3D modeling software. The placement of components such as abutments and piers is straightforward, with the ability to edit the component and to save custom components. Reports from the 3D bridge model are quickly generated through the interface. Built on the MicroStation CE platform, with all the features of MicroStation, it utilizes the OpenRoads technology to connect all the civil data with the 3D parametric components created in OBM. This provides the ability to update live, including changes made in the referenced civil files. For example, a shift in the alignment associated to the bridge will force the bridge to adjust to the shift. Referencing data such as the terrain and roadway is part of the workflow, which allows collaboration between different disciplines. Included with OBM is ProConcrete for the placement of reinforcing steel and LumenRT for visualization capabilities.

In summary, if the organization is looking for an all-in-one package to be able to model, design, analyze, and report on a bridge system, OpenBridge Designer could be the answer. If, on the other hand, the 3D model of a bridge (and possibly the rebar) is all that is needed then OpenBridge Modeler should fulfill those requirements.

David Sullivan

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